Touch the Soil News #331
Do we really know why food has to travel thousands of miles? Why does food on an average dinner plate have to be a concoction that may be sourced from several continents? For most of us, we think that the answer to this question is simply that it cannot be produced locally.
Research at the University of California at Merced under the direction of Professor Elliott Campbell has just proved us all wrong.
Using satellite images and soil data banks across the nation, it was discovered that 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes. Equally revealing is that most of that food could be sourced from within 50 miles of where people live.
Professor Elliott Campbell - UC Merced - headed the research into how much of our food could be produced close to home. (photo courtesy of UC Merced)
Professor Campbell explains even more what this discovery means: “One important aspect of food sustainability is recycling nutrients, water and energy. For example, if we used compost from cities to fertilize our farms, we would be less reliant on fossil-fuel-based fertilizers,” Campbell said. “But cities must be close to farms so we can ship compost economically and environmentally. Our maps provide the foundation for discovering how recycling could work.”
The discovery that most of our diets could be supplied within 50 miles of where we live suggests the global food chain is a cat and mouse game of exploiting variations in currency values, cheap labor and mis-guided agricultural policies and subsidies.
Following is the link to the UCMerced Webpage that contains more information on the research: